Interviews are always a two-way street. The questions you ask in a tech job interview not only give you needed information for evaluating whether you would accept a job offer; they also show the interviewer that you have done your homework concerning the company and that you know key information about the role you're seeking to fill.
Here are some important questions to ask a prospective tech employer and why they are essential to an interview.
1. What are the goals for the position in the first six months, the first year?
This question gives you a realistic view of what the initial expectations for the job might be. It tells you whether the employer is realistic about those expectations, and asking the question tells the employer that you are a goal-setter by nature and want to meet expectations.
2. What are some challenges you expect this position to face?
This shows the prospective employer that you want to be prepared to face challenges going forward and that you expect problems to be part of any job. The answer could show you what you might expect to face in the job, although employers are not always forthcoming about the true challenges for fear of scaring candidates away.
3. Describe a typical day/non-typical day for this job.
This question is more for you to get an idea about what doing this job might be like day in and day out. It might also show employers that you are detail-oriented and like to know what's coming.
4. What are the roles in your team? How does the team function?
The team is all-important in most tech jobs today, so getting any insight you can into how your prospective team functions and what roles exist within it will tell you a lot about the job you will be doing. It also lets your employer know you expect to work with a team and that you have some knowledge of team dynamics.
5. What does a great employee look like as opposed to just a good one?
This question shows your employer that you want to be the best at what you do and that you have high standards. It also shows you what a high expectation by this employer looks like and how you can fulfill those expectations if you do take the job.
6. What performance metrics do you use?
This is something you may not need to know until you actually take the job, but it sends a message to a prospective employer that you expect your performance to be evaluated and that you welcome having your performance measured.
7. What is your favorite tech book?
The answer to this question may give clues about the company culture, or it may just show an individual preference. You can follow-up by asking about other books that may have been read or been suggested reading company-wide or by leadership. Asking this question signals your interest in continuing education and willingness to keep your skills up to date.
8. How is professional development handled?
Most candidates today want to know that the prospective employer will provide professional development, and this question will signal your interest in professional development and show that you value it. If professional development does not seem to be a high priority for the employer, you will have to consider that before accepting an offer for the position.
9. What do you enjoy most about working here?
Everyone wants work to be pleasant, so finding out what makes it enjoyable for your interviewers will provide a clue about how you might fit into the existing culture. It may also give you a way to relate to or connect with the culture and show the employer that you would be a good fit as well.
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